Written by Marina Agafonov, Registered Provisional Psychologist
This morning I sat down to chat with Leslie Horton on GlobalNews Calgary about motherhood expectations.
Moms place such high expectations on themselves that sometimes they find it hard to live up to their own standards! Remember that you are an expert at this, you know what is best for your child and as such you are their best advocate. You’ve got this, mom!
So when you catch a glimpse of that social media post about the most perfect mom, keep in mind that social media “life” is heavily edited. We tend to show our best selves on social media, and we hide the real facts like the fact that your kid may be wearing jammies and it’s 3 in the afternoon! Or that yesterday you cried because you were exhausted and your kids had just used up your last nerve. So be gentle on yourself, when you notice that you are comparing yourself to another mommy on social media do the “fact check” by reminding yourself that you have great moments too and that life is not always flawless.
In my office I often talk about being “present for the moment” in other terms known as mindfulness. By staying focused on the moment rather than looking for external validation, we allow ourselves to experience our moments with children in an organic and judgment-free way. Your children will actually see you as engaged and when you are engaged your children feel loved because they can see that they are your sole focus at that moment in time. In my segment I talk about taking a deep breath before responding, or making eye contact and I feel that is very important in daily practice.
I also mentioned a quick tip on handling the temper tantrum. Here’s a simple step-by step, simple in theory… in practice it requires patience. Remember you are in control, and you are an expert.
- Redirect the child, in other words distract them with a new activity or a different item
- If the tantrum is in a grocery store (we’ve all been there) redirect with a silly game or give the child a task to do. Stash an extra toy in your purse for outings, so you have a “redirecting object” at the ready
- Deep breaths, remind yourself that this tantrum is momentary, you are doing a great job at handling it.
- Acknowledge how your child feels and give them an alternate solution or option. “You feel frustrated/angry because mommy isn’t buying you cereal, we have snacks with us/in the car we can have a snack soon. It’s okay.”
- When a child refuses to do a task you need them to finish, modify the activity by making it appear that they child has a choice. I call this the “two choices” … child refuses to get dressed, “would you like to dress yourself or would you like mommy to help you”. The end result is the same, but the child perceives it as a choice. Same goes for teens “would you like to start your homework with math or chemistry?” OR “would you like to do the laundry or take out the garbage?”
- After the tantrum has subsided, talk to your child about the tantrum and your feelings together.
For a full interview with Leslie Horton, Global News Calgary, watch the video below.